The Security Council did not succeed in reaching an agreement this evening on the draft resolution. I regret it.
France is tirelessly pursuing any means that might revive the peace process based on the agreed-upon fundamentals.
As President Sarkozy has said, Israel’s security will only be truly guaranteed when an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State exists alongside it. Such a peace will come about through the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of both States, a border negotiated on the basis of the 1967 lines, and exchanges of territory making it possible to build two viable States.
It’s been a long time in the planning, but a year-long French festival celebrating Mexican culture is now being boycotted by a very high-profile guest: the Mexican government.
Mexican officials said on Monday that they would not be participating in the “Year of Mexico in France” amid simmering tension over the conviction of a Frenchwoman, Florence Cassez, on kidnapping charges.
The ostensible reason behind Mexico’s decision is French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent comment that the festival should be dedicated to Cassez.
Nicolas Sarkozy is facing an unprecedented revolt by French diplomats who warn that his foreign policy gaffes have left France pathetically diminished on the world stage.
After weeks of embarrassing French slip-ups – including Paris blindly standing by the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships until the last minute – a group of diplomats have published a scathing attack on the president in Le Monde.
The anonymous letter from serving and former diplomats warns: “France’s voice in the world has disappeared.” They accuse Sarkozy of amateurism, acting on impulse, ignoring ambassadors and caring more about how he looks on TV than the fundamentals of foreign affairs.
They claim France risks losing its footing on the world stage and becoming insignificant. “Africa escapes us, the Mediterranean snubs us, China has crushed us and Washington ignores us!” the letter says.
The timing of the diplomatic rebellion is particularly damaging: Sarkozy is the current president of the G8 and G20 economic forums and is preparing for a re-election bid next year.
The uproar is serious, given the importance of foreign affairs in defining French national pride and the president’s domestic popularity.
France has the second biggest diplomatic network in the world, after the US.Since Charles de Gaulle, France has boasted of its unique and independent stance in world diplomacy and foreign policy is the exclusive personal domain of the president. French leaders have traditionally used the world stage to boost their domestic standing, with Jacques Chirac conveniently using his popular opposition to the Iraq war to mask his failings at home.
But a poll for the newspaper Libération this week found 72% of French people think their country’s image in the world has deteriorated since Sarkozy became president in 2007.
French diplomacy is struggling to recover from its mishandling of the popular uprisings in the Arab world and cosy business and arms ties to authoritarian regimes. During the brutal repression of the Tunisian revolution, the French foreign minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, offered the “savoir faire” of French police to help the regime. It emerged that mid-revolt, she and her parents stayed with, and did business with, a crony of the dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Alliot-Marie, who has refused to quit, is now so loathed in the former French colonial protectorate that the Tunisian foreign minister was forced to resign for saying he respected her.
Embarrassingly, Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, beat the French government to be the first European political heavyweight to visit post-revolution Tunisia. When French ministers finally arrived this week, Alliot-Marie was not with them.
The embarrassment was compounded last weekend when hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets demanding the departure of the new French ambassador, Boris Boillon, a “Sarkoboy” and presidential protege parachuted in after Sarkozy sacked the previous ambassador for failing to predict the revolution.
Boillon, 41, once referred to by Sarkozy as “my little Arab” because he speaks Arabic, was forced to deliver a humiliating apology on Tunisian television after being filmed throwing a Sarkozy-style tantrum and insulting local journalists who asked him about his inexperience.
Unnamed ambassadors briefing the press have complained about Sarkozy’s personality. One told Libération that French foreign policy, like Sarkozy, had become “agitated, impulsive, ideologically incoherent and contradictory”. Diplomats complained the Elysée sidelined and ignored its diplomats over the Arab uprisings.
Talking to foreign journalists, Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic advisor, Jean-David Levitte, said of the diplomats’ revolt: “I don’t like anonymous letters.”
He insisted that ambassadors were not being ignored, saying: “I read 150 diplomatic cables a day. It’s my daily bread.”
The Socialist leader, Martine Aubry, told French radio: “Today it’s clear that French diplomacy no longer exists; we’re confusing contracts with diplomacy and that’s why France is shrinking in the world. Its voice no longer carries.”
French diplomats’ resentment of Sarkozy had been growing under his previous foreign minister, the leftwing former humanitarian champion, Bernard Kouchner, who was dubbed Mr Know It All by foreign office staff who complained that he was arrogant.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has set his sights on the role of Islam in a secular France, which looks set to become a major theme ahead of the 2012 presidential elections.
Sarkozy said Tuesday that he wants to launch a debate in April on the role and influence of the country’s second-biggest religion.
The call for a discussion on Islam follows comments Sarkozy made last week that “multiculturalism is not working” and is seen as a bid to win back voters from the far-right National Front party.
French foreign minister Michèle Alliot-Marie says she has ‘learned the lesson’ after criticism for using a private jet belonging to a Tunisian businessman linked to ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Photograph: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images
French foreign minister Michèle Alliot-Marie is under pressure to resign after the emergence of further damaging allegations about her holiday in Tunisia during last month’s unrest.
The beleaguered minister has come under attack from all sides after a series of gaffes in recent weeks, leading to questions about her judgement.
There was widespread anger at the weekend when it emerged that Alliot-Marie had used a private jet belonging to a Tunisian businessman with alleged links to ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali not once but twice during her controversial holiday. Rather than apologising, her response was combative. “When I’m on holiday, I’m not the foreign minister, I’m Michèle Alliot-Marie,” she said.
Less than 24 hours later, she has been forced to retract the statement.
Perhaps mindful of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s oft-repeated mantra: “When you’re a minister, you’re a full time minister,” Alliot-Marie told Le Parisien newspaper: “Obviously I am a minister 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Even on holiday, I work in constant contact with my colleagues.”
On French radio, she said: “I thought a minister had the right to have friends but if that’s the way it is I’ll be very careful. Next time I won’t leave the Dordogne.”
She admitted she could understand why people were shocked by the revelations. “When I agreed to take this plane I was on holiday with my family, with my friends. I didn’t consider how it might be seen otherwise I wouldn’t have done it,” she said. “I’ve learned the lesson: if I am asked again, I will obviously not accept.”
Responding to calls for her resignation she went on the attack: “I will reply to questions, not to insults. I can assure you that this polemic will not distract me from my job.”
Alliot-Marie, 64, is one of France’s most experienced and long serving cabinet ministers. She was defence minister, interior minister and justice minister before being named foreign secretary in a reshuffle of the right-of-centre government last November.
Her judgment was first called into question when she offered to send France’s “world renowned” security forces to help quell the uprising in Tunisia three days before Ben Ali was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia on 13 January.
Afterwards details emerged of her post-Christmas holiday in Tunisia, after the unrest had begun. The minister – with her partner Patrick Ollier, also a minister, and her parents – took a nine-seater private jet belonging to businessman Aziz Miled, who was alleged to have links with the Ben Ali regime. Revelations about a second flight in the same jet were published this weekend.
Alliot-Marie claimed Miled, 75, who sold carpets on the streets before building up a travel empire, was a victim of the ruling clan’s corruption. Critics claim he worked with Ben Ali’s brother-in-law and last year signed a petition calling for the president to stand again when his mandate ended in 2014.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, head of the Socialist party parliamentary group, labelled Alliot-Marie’s behaviour as indecent. “That the French minister for foreign affairs spends her holidays in a country in the middle of a popular revolt is unacceptable behaviour,” he told Le Parisien.
Later he added: “She has to go. It’s impossible … her resignation is inevitable; it’s France’s image that has been damaged.”
Dominique de Villepin, a foreign secretary in a previous centre-right government, said the minister had shown that French diplomacy was “not at its best”.
Sarkozy has made no comment but the prime minister, François Fillon, said last week that Alliot Marie had “all his confidence”.
“We don’t have a stronger friend and closer ally than Nicolas Sarkozy, and the French people” Barack Obama stated today.
Absolutely no sooner had he done so than Washington-based British analyst Earth Gardiner rushed to his keyboard to blog for the Daily Telegraph: “Quite what are the French did to worth this kind of high praise in the US chief executive is difficult to fathom, and if the White House implies what it says this signifies an extraordinary sea change in US foreign policy.” Touchy, aren’t we?
He continues, outraged: “To report that Paris and not London can be Washington’s strongest associate is simply ridiculous.” And finishes, apparently frothing at the mouth: “No US leader in modern times features described Italy as Our country’s closest friend, and such the remark is not only factually wrong but also insulting to be able to Britain, including coming a few years following your French famously knifed Washington inside the back over your war throughout Iraq.” Can someone offer Mr Gardiner an asprin?
Nile, you should not feel consequently bad, Barack obama was just getting polite. While all presidents internet hosting foreign mind of express know, you merely cannot get away saying things like: “Hamid Karzai is a great buddy of the Usa States” as George T Bush declared many times, or “Colonel Gaddafi is a great buddy of France” as Sarkozy said whenever he asked the Libyan dictator to set up the tent together with his all-female entourage in the gardens of the Elys?es inside November 07.
Having said that, if you look at it historically, I’m sorry to state that it is factually and emotionally befitting the American president to spell out France since the US’s greatest ally. 3 Sept 1783, anyone? Lord Cornwallis? General Rochambeau? This particular language may have directly missed out on getting chosen because language from the United States, yet without France, there’d be zero American self-reliance.
As “for knifing Buenos aires in the go back over the battle in Iraq”, England was only performing the courageous act involving warning any dear outdated friend that they were terribly incorrect. Other companions thought no better however to acquiesce.
Generally speaking, France and also the French have a more simple relationship to be able to America than their neighbors across the Funnel. The idea is always that love doesn’t always have to be servile. A fair amount of critique is even expected and also welcome, oahu is the sign associated with an equal as well as healthy relationship. If the leftist intelligentsia experienced it required to deride America soon after the second world war, most of the French folks embraced U . s . culture.
A lot of American performers and film directors, through Nicholas Ray for the Coen brothers, are obligated to repay a large part of their globe reputation for you to French movie critics. To be a good friend, you’ve got to be independent. That was usually the point of see of This particular language presidents from signifiant Gaulle to Chirac. Nicolas Sarkozy can be a unique determine French governmental policies, one who they turn to obsequiousness rather than balanced esprit critique. The truth is that Nicolas Sarkozy wishes he ended up being American.
That is another history…
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